Dai's walk around Wales blog - September 2019


1 September 2019

A stroke of luck happened this evening as I came across an event on Aberavon Beach requiring a commentator, the world gibberish body surfing championships. The event was won by Papua New Guinean, Eggledoo Smank who was actually the only competitor that turned up. Well done to Eggledoo and the organising team for a superb event. A video was made of the even which can be found on our you-tube channel.




5-8 September 2019 - sunset on Aberavon Beach

85.jpg (184670 bytes) 84-ss-2019-09-05.jpg (167881 bytes) 5 September 2019 - Sunset walk on Aberavon Beach - I walked the shoreline again this evening and for the first time in ages spotted a couple of jellyfish. There were a ton of fish darting in and out of the shallow water including this rare type of dogfish (illustrated top left).
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6 September 2019 - The waves were quite large and this canoeist didn't see to be going anywhere so I got him in shot as the sun was setting. There was a lot of action happening in the shallows with couples hanging around, surfers arriving and leaving. My favourite shot is illustrated left with the surfer "walking on sunshire woooooohhhhh woooohh. 

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7 September 2019 - A big thanks to the kids in the skate park on Aberavon Beach for allowing me to photograph them as the sun was setting. 

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Once the sun had set we headed onto the shoreline and a walk in the shallows, there was a sea angling competition just packing up and heading home, with a ton of fish still left darting around in the shallows the evening sky pinked up beautifully for a superb after sunset glow. A glorious evening.


59-skp-2019-09-08d.jpg (241887 bytes) 8 September 2019 - Another big thanks to the kids in the skate park on Aberavon Beach for allowing me to photograph them as the sun was setting. Not a particularly good sunset but the scooting was just as good. Illustrated left and far right is Sam Jenkins.

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13 September 2019 - Sunrise & Swim Series - more to follow


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Sunrise, Swim & Walk - Day 1 - The Black Mountain

Starting at Tafarn-y-Garreg, on day 1 of the sunrise and swim adventure I witnessed a fantastic sunrise on the Fan Hir ridge followed by a swim in Llyn y Fan Fach. Click on the link below for the Youtube video.


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Sunrise, Swim & Walk 2 - Mumbles and the Ferry Bend

Day 2 and I drove to Mumbles for sunrise, the photos I usually take of the lighthouse are from Aberavon or Jersey Marine Beaches so it was nice to get a new angle. As I was setting up walkers started to arrive for the McMillan Gower Coast walk, first to arrive was Phil, and he posed nicely for me with the pre-sunrise colours in the background. Returning home via Fabian Way, I parked up near the University and walked through Crymlyn Burrows to Jersey Marine beach and the Ferry Bend for my swim.

Youtube video


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Sunrise, Swim & Walk 3 - Cefn Bryn & Oxwich Bay

I was hoping for a mountain top sunrise today but the forecast for the mountains was zero visibility. The Gower peninsula on the other hand looked a possibility so I grabbed a map for the area and decided to wing the sunrise swim and walk. One thing I was certain about was that I wanted to view sunrise from Cefn Bryn, the highest point on the Gower and swim in Oxwich Bay. 

I arrived on Cefn Bryn and settled myself about 500 metres short of the summit with nice views over Three Cliffs Bay, Oxwich Bay with God's country in the distance. Camera and tripod were set up and with my video blog completed I settled down to watch the sunrise. In the distance I could see that I was not on my own............... I didn't see the sun but the pinking up was nice and substantial enough to call it a sunrise. 

I'd made a decision on the route I would take and headed off along the Cefn Bryn ridge path, one of the best walks in Wales. Being super nosy I checked out who else was viewing the sunrise and found it to be Tara Crank from Dryad BushcraftDryad Bushcraft are a company that specialises in bushcraft and wilderness training. 

Tara was up early enjoying life so after introductions I asked the obvious question "what can I eat". Tara headed for the nearest gorse bush and we shared a gorse bush flower breakfast. For me, it was pay back time, my legs having been ripped to shreds on many occasions by the Cefn Bryn gorse in orienteering events on the hill. Happy days

Back onto the path and early morning runners and bikers started appearing with their dogs, then it was the long descent into Oxwich Bay via Penrice Castle and manor, Mill Wood,  St Andrew's Church, Penrice and Oxwich village. 

The swim was interesting, the beach was a little busy so rather than swim out and back and leave my bag unattended, I marked an X in the sand, relayed it up the beach for 200mts, run back to my X and swam up to the bag, I repeated this quite a few times. I the end, the wind chill of being out of the water made me a cold so I knocked the swim/walk on the head after about an hour and 10 minutes. It was a shame really because the water was warmish, crystal clear and the sea almost pan flat. It was a really nice swim. I walked the remaining length of Oxwich Bay and ascended the hill to my parking spot in Penmaen. A lovely morning's walk & swim.   

Youtube video - https://youtu.be/9uV8ADwSRUY

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sun's day off


Sunrise, Swim & Walk 4 - Moel Penderyn & Afon Hepste at Sgwd yr Eira

Another rubbish forecast across south Wales gave me the opportunity to put into action my back up plan, it was pointless travelling any distance to see formations of white and grey strata cloud so I went local. Not that local is a poor option, I live on the edge of the Brecon Beacons and a flat stone's skip away from Waterfall Country (Pont Nedd-Fechan and Ystradfellte). The more rain at these locations, the better the views. 

Youtube video - https://youtu.be/sGPcAar4NxQ  


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Sunrise, Swim & Walk 5 Port Eynon point & beach

The sun returned at sunrise for a short while at least. It was viewed it from Port Eynon point, the swim today was on Port Eynon beach and this was followed by a walk along the coastal path to the Sands, a small bay between Oxwich and Port Eynon. From there it was over the top to Oxwich, passing close by the castle before returning to the coastal path.

Youtube video - https://youtu.be/wzqVBvxCFWo


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42-sr2019-09-18-fan-fawr.jpg (88872 bytes) Sunrise, Swim & Walk 6 - Fan Fawr & a specified swim location

For the first time in the series I went for a swim before sunrise, the location is specified in the video. For sunrise I headed to the top of Fan Fawr with the sun rising up behind the Craig Fan Ddu ridge. 



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Sunrise, Swim & Walk 7 - Fan Gyhirych & a specified swim location - Beautiful pink skies this morning over the Central Brecon Beacons. The photograph on the left was taken 15 minutes before sunrise.

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Fan Hir ridge from Fan Gyhirych

20/9/2019 28-sr-2019-09-20-fan-hir.jpg (52085 bytes) Sunrise, Swim & Walk 8 - The Carmarthen Fans & Llyn y Fan Fawr
21/9/2019 29-sr-2019-09-21-begwns.jpg (38924 bytes) Sunrise, Swim & Walk 9 - The Begwns, River Wye & The Black Mountains

I thought long and hard about today, my mate Willie Darcy was over from Ireland walking the Offas Dyke path and this was his day 4. His plan was to walk from Llananthony to Hay-on-Wye and I wanted to join him from Llanthony to Hay Bluff. After 150 mind changes I settled on an awesome plan and spotted it almost to perfection.

Sunrise - I headed for the Begwns range of hills near Painscastle and with a short walk from the car caught a stunning sun rising up from behind the Malvern Hills. This was the crowing glory of a previously pinky sky. I was an excited little boy jumping up and down and snapping away with my point and shoot image capturing device. Then it was off for a.......... 

Swim - in the River Wye at Glasbury. I'd previously taken a kayak session here for army cadets about 30 years ao so I knew the river was swimmable. I did about 100 metres, skipped some stones and headed to Hay Bluff................

Hitchhike - I needed to be in Llanthony for a 9.30 start and I parked up at the Hay Bluff, American Werewolf in London car park started walking towards Llanthony with my thumb up hitching at around 8.10. The plan being if I didn't make it to Willie by 10.30 (he planned to start at 9.30 but was giving me an hour's grace to be late if I needed to be) I'd head straight up the mountain on the Offas Dyke path and walk in the opposite direction to Willie and meet him on the way. A complicated plan indeed but workable. Come 8.40 and not one car had passed so I allowed a bead of sweat to drip from my concerned brow. *.45 and the first car/truck appears, out goes the thumb and RESULT. Mr John Barber of Tymynydd stopped and let me in. John's little Jack Russell obligingly hopped into the back and then back onto my lap for the journey, what an awesome mutt. John is a builder / dry stone waller and with his partner they run a B&B near Hay-on-Wye. The Guardian have done a nice piece on the pair ( CLICK HERE to see this ). Here is a direct link to their Trip Advisor page - CLICK HERE and this is what one of their reviews says..........

"I can't recommend this place highly enough. The location is breath-taking"

Ty-mynydd, Llanigon, Hay-on-Wye, Herefordshire HR3 5RJ

Contact details 01497 821593, nikibarber@tiscali.co.uk,

sounds idyllic and it probably is based upon my experiences of walking the area. John was working on renovating a property about 3 miles from Llanthony so he dropped me a little short of my destination. Out went the thumb again and as it was rush hour in the Vale of Ewyas with a car every 5 minutes, these were mostly populated by 3 or 4 Englishmen in white shirts off to the pub no doubt to watch their team in the Rugby World Cup. There was no stopping these fellas when up came another truck and another top man local farmer Chris Price who dropped me at the Half Moon in Llanthony at 9.20am, 10 minutes to spare and time for a chat with the lady from Blaenavon waiting for a lift. The final result of the 'Pick a Welsh hitchhiker up' competition.......... 

Local farmers 2 - Cars full of Englishmen 0

Walk - ......... More to follow

22/9/2019 27-glynneath-tri-2019.jpg (422064 bytes) Sunrise, Swim & Walk 10 - Glynneath & the Neath Valley Triathlon. Again it was the sun's day off so here is a photo of my father's son in its place.

28 September 2019

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The cascade into the lime pool on the River Pyrddin just below Sgwd Gwladys. 






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